While we practice an authentic indigenous healing tradition, namely that of the Shipibo culture, we have also found a number of complimentary practices that serve to enhance that ancestral tradition, for these practices also originated from ancestral traditions from other cultures around the world. The Ayahuasca Foundation’s assistant healers have studied and continue to study and practice an increasing number of complimentary practices which are included in the treatment process during retreats and courses, and which will also be researched to demonstrate their effectiveness not just at enhancing the healing tradition of curanderismo, but of all healing traditions, and life in general. Here are the primary practices that are now used to compliment the Shipibo tradition during the Ayahuasca Healing Retreats and Curandero Initiation Courses:
Several of our assistant healers have done at least one Vipassana course, and a few currently practice Dzogchen meditation, with the others practicing their own combinations of meditations. No matter what you’re trying to achieve meditation will help, even if what you’re trying to achieve is nothing. We’ve found it tremendously beneficial for maintaining focus, gaining awareness of subtle feelings, or finding deeper roots to issues and conditions. Across the board, meditation is incredibly helpful.
A few of our assistant healers have completed teacher training programs, and they all practice yoga in one form or another. Yoga encompasses the body, mind, and spirit, and has been found to be very helpful with moving energies and blockages, finding comfort and relaxation, and general rejuvenation. Like meditation, it is a practice that enhances life in general, regardless of who you are or what you do.
A few of our assistant healers have degrees in counseling and have worked in the medical field as professional counselors. The healing process can be challenging to navigate, as emotions rise to the surface and traumas are released. The ability to talk to someone free from judgement or criticism, in an environment of trust and compassion, is an important part of any transformative process, most especially when working with a medicine as powerful as ayahuasca.
Several of our assistant healers are also trained massage therapists and practitioners of several different types of massage. Working in conjunction with topical plant salves and pomades, massage can be a very effective form of treatment for various conditions, including the release of deep seated traumas and emotional blockages.
All of our assistant healers have studied herbology in various forms, as we work so closely with medicinal plants and herbs. However, a few of them are specialists in flower and plant essences and the use of essential oils. The study of herbology mixes perfectly with the medicinal plant traditions of the Amazon, as it all reflects the preparation and use of, and respect for, plants and plant consciousness.
A couple of our assistant healers have worked closely with crystal therapies, one having trained and worked professionally in the field. The use of crystals is certainly a part of the indigenous tradition as well, although not to the degree that crystal therapy practices take it. We have found it especially helpful in enhancing the connection with plants through the practice of dowsing.
A couple of our assistant healers have trained in shamanic journey work and use it during programs when they feel a participant could use some guidance in navigating their own selves in order to find the roots of negative feelings and thought patterns. It is an essential tool derived from other indigenous cultures that fits well with the Shipibo tradition.
Most of our assistant healers read tarot cards to some level, some with more experience and intuition than others. It has proven to be especially beneficial for guiding the determination of intention, relating to particular process during healing treatment, and looking forward to the future after being healed and continuing onward.
A couple of our assistant healers have studied and practice dream interpretation. Dreams play a large role in the Shipibo tradition and most every shamanic tradition, but understanding the events and visions experienced in dreams can be challenging at times. It is helpful to have someone to talk to about the significance of particular elements of dreams and how to integrate that significance into the healing experience.
While not all of our assistant healers are trained practitioners of all these complimentary practices, because we all work together, live together, and spend most of our time together, there is a great deal of teaching, sharing, and transference of understanding and insight, which has led to basic comprehension of all fields by our entire team. Obviously, whoever has the highest level of ability at a particular program will lead any treatment involving that practice.